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PANELIST AND HONOREE BIOS
Jenna Birkett, REACH:
Jenna Birkett is a graduate of Oakland University, and has worked at REACH for the past five years both as a Residential and Community Advocate. Jenna provides individual advocacy and also co-facilitates support groups and the Survivor Speakers Bureau. She works in collaboration with many community agencies including the local police departments. Jenna is a member of the Custody Awareness Collaborative which advances the voices of adult and child survivors of abuse in the process of making laws and setting court policies/procedures.
Mary Dunne, Community Activist:
Mary Dunne is a New York native who has lived in Boston for 43 years. For the last 37 years she has taught in Brookline, where she recently won the town’s Woman of the Year award. Mary’s only child, Lauren Dunne Astley, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2011. Lauren was 18 years old at the time. In the years since Lauren’s death, Mary has dedicated much of her time to the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, which supports programs in teen dating violence education, the arts and community service. She has worked cooperatively with REACH since 2011 in bringing educational programs to local high schools.
Blanca Huari, REACH:
Blanca Huari is a graduate of UMass Boston, and has worked at REACH for the past five years. As the Intake Coordinator and Community Advocate, Blanca is often the first person to meet with survivors coming to REACH; she conducts more than 100 intakes per year. Blanca has developed an expertise in immigration law, housing, public benefits, healthcare and child welfare advocacy. Blanca co-facilitates support groups for Spanish-speaking survivors, and is the point of contact for local law enforcement partners on all domestic violence cases including those referred by local High Risk Teams. An advocate for social justice, Blanca was named the 2016 Cheryl Watson Scholar by the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance.
Det. Linda Moschner, Waltham Police Department:
Panelist & Award Recipient
Linda Moschner is a graduate of Western New England University. Now a Detective in the Domestic Violence Unit, she has worked with the Waltham Police Department for the past 24 years. As a Patrol Officer, Linda responded to hundreds of cases and over time developed a strong interest in working with individuals and families who had experienced domestic violence. She wanted to assist survivors not only upon their initial interaction with the department, but throughout the court process. Linda is a huge resource to REACH’s Community Advocacy Program, going above and beyond to make connections and referrals for survivors based on their needs. She is equally committed to conducting thorough investigations and follow-ups, which lead to the prosecution of many cases in court. Linda works in collaboration with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, REACH, and other community partners as an invaluable member of the Waltham High Risk Team since 2014.